So as you can see from the top link, I'm running for the K-8 Board of Education in my home town of Washington Township aka Long Valley NJ and I have to tell you it is an eye opening experience for me. I'm running for a number of reasons, but the primary motivation is to rid my school district of Everyday Mathematics.
Unfortunately I am struggling with offline expenditures and it really gets to me (yes that's pretty funny). So far I've paid for signs in my town, a half page ad in a program, a website with blog, online donation links, email/RSS signups, and of course Google advertising. Also, you need letters written into the town paper, interviews with a few reporters, and then the questions/answers with the candidates. Really a microcosm of a much bigger campaign in this town, but something is missing.
You see at the really grass roots level at the smallest of campaigns it starts with offline marketing. Meet and greets, local ads, phone calls, signs, direct mail pieces, door hangers, etc. It doesn't start with the internet (I started it that way, but I'm a little different), so most people grow up in the political marketing world with skills in those tactics. Me, it is difficult to pay for expenditures in those areas.
I'm just more comfortable online. I'd rather give more people information to decide to vote than hide behind a hand shake and who you know. I'd rather not worry so much about putting a press release together and instead focus on the website. Yes I'll give interviews because I get the chance to promote what I want to say and attend questions/answers with the other candidates and even show up an event to shake hands because that's all good voter outreach. However, I have trouble believing that anyone but the people who are involved in the campaigns actually reads a newspaper.
It just isn't me; I can't get into offline advertising any more. However every person advising me tells me that's what I need to do. And with a small group of staffers, the work for all of that falls on my shoulders and my heart just can't get behind tactics that my brain says that they shouldn't work.
For now, I'll gut it out and hope that I get enough donations to run ads on Yahoo. At least my mind says that is the right thing to do.
(and just in case: Paid for by Eric Frenchman for Wash Twp Bd of Ed 13 Briarwood Road Long Valley NJ 07853)